What It Is
LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) data provide high accuracy and high resolution elevation information over very large regions. This makes LiDAR ideal for use in agricultural applications such as tile drainage, surface drainage, and 3D land forming design, as well as layers in precision agronomy programming.
However, most of the LiDAR data that are available cannot be used by the majority of agricultural users due to incompatible formats and difficulties processing very large data sets to extract just the fields required.
We offer a valuable service where we source the best available LiDAR data for your fields, and process the data so that you will be able to use it as an elevation layer in the most popular agricultural GIS software, such as Ag Leader SMS, Trimble WM-Subsurface Software (aka Trimble Farmworks), as well as most other tile and surface drainage design programs.
Check if your fields are covered:
What You Get & How To Tell Us What Fields You Require
We will provide a file for each land location ordered that's formatted to work in your software. You can select the required format before pressing Add to Cart (info is below on what format to choose for your software and hardware capabilities).
The price shown is per data file provided, and one file can be up to one full section (~640 acres). To order multiple fields on different sections of land simply adjust the quantity from the shopping cart page to reflect the number of legal land locations you require. When you checkout you'll be able to add notes to tell us the land locations you require. If you farm the full section, or most of it, then request data for the full section. If you'd just like data for one half or one quarter of the section then you can request that.
Please specify which section(s) you require using the format Section-Township-Range, (be sure to add this info in the notes on the Shopping Cart page).
To order data for a full section you'd write in the Notes area of the checkout page something like: 22-15-8-W1
To order data for a half section you'd specify: SH-22-15-8-w1 - use EH, WH, NH for the other options)
To order data for a quarter section you'd specify: SW-22-15-8-W1 (for the SW quarter of section 16- use NW, NE, SE for the other quarters).
If you farm multiple fields on the same section then the cheapest option is to order the whole section as one file, and then import this file multiple times into your farm software to assign it to the different fields (your software should be able to clip the data to each field boundary and remove the extra areas around each field).
Formats We Can Create:
- Point Shapefiles (the most compatible format - we set the coordinate system to WGS84 which is what most ag software uses by default so you shouldn't have to enter any settings when you import)
- CSV Files (most software can import these also)
- GeoTIFF with each pixel value set to the elevation value (less common, but some specialist drainage design software works well with GeoTIFF)
We can also adjust the resolution of the data where required to make it easier for software to process.
How To Use The Data
We can't provide specific instructions for each software, but if you know how to import elevation layers into your program it will be no different than usual.
In SMS and Trimble desktop software you simply read in the layers (typically you'll order shapefiles), making sure to specify that the column in the database with values is the elevation. Then, once imported, right click on the layer and choose Regenerate 3D Grid (in SMS) or Create Topographic Layer (Trimble).
We won't clip out features such as yard sites and dugouts, lagoons, etc. When you import the data into your software, if you have field boundaries setup, the software will usually clip the data to the field boundary. This also allows you to use the data for surrounding ditches etc if needed.
What Format Should I Order?
If you are using Ag Leader SMS you'll want shapefile data. If your computer is powerful (a desktop or laptop with i7 processor and lots of RAM for example) then opt for 1m resolution to get the maximum detail. If you don't have this much power then opt for 3m resolution - that's still one point every 10 feet! If some fields are large (over 300 acres) then it's probably best to go with 3m because that will be a lot more manageable.
If you are using Trimble WM Subsurface (aka Farmworks Surface) you will likely find that 1m resolution is too slow to create the topographic layer on all but the tiniest of fields - it may take 12+ hours to generate for one field! Therefore we'd recommend 3m resolution for powerful computers, otherwise 5m resolution will be what you want - again that's still one point every 16ft so very detailed compared to driving the field at 40-50ft swaths.
If you are using a drainage design software that can import elevation data in GeoTIFF format then this is a good option as it's not so memory intensive. (But don't order GeoTIFF for SMS or Trimble software as it can't be used as an elevation layer). Check with your vendor if needed.
If you aren't sure what format you need then shapefile is probably the safest option as it's a universal format that just about every program will work with.
Unless you specifically need the elevations in metric then always opt for feet as most ag software expects elevation values to be in feet.
How To Order
- Select the data format required (see above for help on choosing the best format)
- Click on Add To Cart
- Go to Cart and adjust quantity to match the number of files you need (a quantity of 1 is one file up to one section - if your farm covers 6 different sections of land then you'd need to order a quantity of 6)
- On the Cart page, add Notes in the box called "Add a note to your order" telling us which section(s) or parts of a section you require data for (use the format Section Township Range, e.g. 15-8-22-W1)
- Complete Checkout. Make sure to enter your email address so we can send you the files.
- We'll process your data and provide it to you by email, typically within 1-2 business days.